On Student’s Day, Débora told Komsomolskaya Pravda about Brazilian student traditions and the most difficult subjects for foreigners.
A year ago, Débora abandoned her usual life in sunny São Paulo, Brazil, took her six-year-old son Arthur and came to study International Relations at the Faculty of History, Samara University. Here in Samara she was reunited with her husband Daniel, who had come to study in this city on the Volga a year earlier. On Student’s Day, Débora told the journalist of Komsomolskaya Pravda-Samara how she lives in a foreign land, whether it is difficult to get a foreign language education, and what impressed her in Russia.
The hardest thing is asking for a child seat in a taxi
This is the second education for me – in Brazil I received a diploma in Advertising. But my husband Daniel had always dreamt of going to Russia to study at an aerospace university and then to work as an engineer at the airport. Two years ago he entered Samara University, and a year ago I took our son Arthur and followed him. I also entered this university but International Relations Department. When I receive a diploma here, I will return to Brazil, qualify as a diplomat and come to work at the embassy in Russia!
The first impression of Samara was – what a huge city you have! How huge the Volga is! But we don’t have enough sun here, I miss it. I had never lived in a student dormitory, that is why we immediately rented a separate apartment here. Our son goes to school, to International Gymnasium No. 3. He already says that he is Russian (laughs).
The language remains to be the most difficult thing for me. It's difficult not to know all the words to say something. In the beginning, when I arrived, the main problem for me was to ask for a child seat in a taxi.
I had to change some Brazilian habits. I have always talked loudly to my husband or son in public transport. In Brazil this is normal, but now I know that I can’t do it here. But there is one habit I decided not to change – to wish good morning to all the people with whom I communicate during the day. I see that some people look at me strangely, but I think they are not used to it.
The hardest thing to learn is the history of Russia
Only one foreigner is studying besides me – a girl from Jordan. There is one more girl from Ecuador, but she is a second year student. We are lucky to have our fellow students – they see that we have difficulties with the language and try to help us. Professors are also ready to assist, they always ask us if we understand everything or not and if necessary they explain the material one more time. But sometimes only a Google translator helps! Our groupmates help with some translations and share their notes. But it is incredibly difficult to read somebody’s lectures in a foreign language. I tried to read the notes written by many of my groupmates, as a result I learnt to distinguish the handwriting of one girl, and now I always take copies of her notebook. By the way, it was a surprise to me that professors check our notebooks to verify the lecture notes. We do not have this in Brazil. But for me it’s good – it means that the professors really care about our education.
The most difficult subjects for me are the History of Russian Culture and the History of Russia. Brazil is only 520 years old, and Russia is a very old country and it has a long history!
"They don’t wave their record books, but they don’t sleep at night"
In Brazil we have never heard of the omens that, as every Russian student knows, can help to pass the exam successfully — to wave the student’s record book from the balcony, or to put a five-ruble coin under one’s heel. But we have our own student omens. For example, it is believed that it is necessary to revise the material during the night before the exam. Otherwise, you will forget everything that you studied during the entire term and fail the exam. In Brazil students like to prepare for their exams in large groups.
By the way, I noticed that Russian students are more responsible for their education process than Brazilian ones. Many students here tell me that they need to get only excellent marks, that they need to receive a diploma with distinction. In my homeland there are fewer students striving for it.